Harper, Gilbert square off again for SAG presidency

— Melissa Gilbert and Valerie Harper faced off for a second time Friday over the Screen Actors Guild presidency, an election rerun forced by questions over voting procedures.

The deadline for receipt of ballots was Friday morning, said SAG spokeswoman Ilyanne Morden Kichaven.

A new company, American Arbitration Assn., was retained to oversee the mailing, collection and tabulation of ballots, she said.

AAA was hired after a guild elections committee decided in January that administrative oversights caused problems in the voting process and may have affected the outcome of some or all of the elections.

The committee voted unanimously that the election for the positions of president, treasurer and secretary be rerun, but the results of the 12 vice presidents and the national board seats remained official.

In the results announced in November, "Little House on the Prairie" star Gilbert, 37, won over Harper, 61, of "Rhoda" fame. Gilbert received 45.3 percent of the vote to Harper's 39.4 percent.

Also seeking the top post in the first and second elections were Eugene Boggs and Angel Tompkins.

Kent McCord, who was elected treasurer in November, again faced Amy Aquino and Kathleen Haigney. Elliott Gould, who was elected recording secretary, ran against Kevin Kilner and Renee Aubry.

The guild represents more than 98,000 movie and television performers nationally.

The elections committee criticized polling administrator Sequoia Voting Systems and top SAG executives for rule violations. Some of the problems included a two-day extension for New York members to mail in their ballots.

"It is regrettably the case that all those who ran for office were the innocent victims of these two groups, namely SAG staff and Sequoia representatives," the panel said.

Gilbert remained SAG president pending the results of the new election, which has been marked by an intense e-mailing campaign and vitriolic war of words.


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